Saturday, July 25, 2009

Nobody Told Me There'd Be Days Like These

I watched the film Terms of Endearment last night (I know, there isn't enough sadness in my real life). In one scene, the Debra Winger character is trying to talk her husband out of raising their three kids after she dies from cancer. She says to him on raising kids, "As hard as you think it is going to be, you end up wishing it was that easy." That pretty much sums up nicely where I stand on raising children these days. I knew there would be challenges, especially during their teenage years, but honestly nobody told me it would be this hard. You expect your children to make mistakes; you don't expect your children to end up addicted to drugs. And, when it happens, you find yourself in such despair and confusion, that you end up in situations that you never would have expected to find yourself, days so hard, you contemplate getting in the car and just driving away, leaving it all behind.

Around the time we first began to realize that Justin was using drugs on a regular basis, we had a monumental fight. I wish I could say it was the worst day of my life, but unfortunately, there have been others since. I had caught him (for the third time that week) smoking weed out of his bedroom window. When I confronted him, he said something along the lines of "I'll do what I want, when I want." The anger I felt in that moment was frightening, and I lost control. It is a terrifying feeling when you realize that you can not control your actions; I now completely understand temporary insanity. That night, was the closest I have come to being violent toward my son, fortunately, I took my anger out on an inanimate object. I picked up his television and threw it to his floor, where it smashed violently on the hardwood. I was crying and yelling "why are you doing this to us," over and over again. I can't even really remember my son's reaction, I was so caught up in my own emotions. My husband, hearing the crash, came running down. Realizing his wife was, well losing her shit, he wisely led me away from the situation and into our bedroom. I lay on the bed, sobbing, listening to the music on the clock radio which was quietly playing. It took me a moment to realize what song was playing; It could not have been more appropriate: Nobody Told Me There'd Be Days Like These. Strange Days Indeed, Mr. Lennon, strange, strange days.

Justin finally got the date for his assessment: August 10th. On this day, following a three hour assessment, it will be decided whether he should receive in or out-patient therapy. Justin has shown some more remorse for the stolen jewelry; however, I question whether he is just saying what he knows we want to hear. He has promised to pay them back in full, but I'll believe it when I see it. Actions speak louder than words - this old saying is so truthful, especially when you are dealing with an addict.


  1. Hi Hannah,

    I just want to tell you how sorry I am for everything you are going through and have gone through for the past 4 years. I, too, never thought parenting would be so difficult.

    I feel like I have so much I could say. Not advice, but words to just let you know that you are not alone. Most of us here have felt your pain, your anger, your sadness, your embarrassment, your shame, your despair. I happen to be in an "okay," place right now, but I realize that it could change in a heartbeat. One phone call is all it would take to set me back to that dark place.

    Prayers, Nar-anon, Al-anon, and blogging have all saved me. The turning point was when I truly accepted that my son was an addict and I couldn't fix him. I fought both for a long time. I still have to remind myself daily that I can't fix him, that continues to be difficult to accept. It goes against how us parents are wired. But, sadly, it's true.

    I pray that your son gets inpatient treatment. Not that it's a cure all, but it will give you some much needed sleep and peace. You need that and deserve that, Hannah.

    I also pray for your marriage. My son's addiction has both torn us apart and brought us closer than we've ever been. I pray that you and your husband grow stronger together.

    I promise I'll never leave this long of a comment again! I was having problems leaving comments until blogging buddies helped me out, so I'm making up for lost time! : )

    Huge hugs to you,

  2. Oh yeah, it's harder than any of us ever imagine, and that's withOUT addiction! When addiction steps in, it's almost like stepping into the twilight zone - weird stuff - stuff you never would have thought possible, or yourself capeable of. I've found that "detachment is alot harder than it sounds, but sometimes, that's what you have to do. That, and get to some meetings (however many it takes) and talk with others who can help you through.

    You are in my prayers.

  3. It's so hard to control your anger and builds inside us like a volcano.
    You wouldn't be human if you didn't lose it ow and again. I'm sure August 10th can't come quick enough for you.

    Try to get to some Al-anon meetings, it will help. (half of our group is dealing with drugs, it's not all alcohol related).

    Take care of yourself, you are in my prayers.

  4. Been there done that. With my "children" being 17 and 21, I sometimes wonder why I'm still parenting. (Oldest alcoholic, other one pot). The younger seems to be on the right path, good discrepencies in time and places of where he's to be. I can just tell he's ok.
    But, I'm in a terrible rut of hearing or seeing what the older one's peers are doing with their lives, careers and education. I'm grieving what I thought my son would be doing or what our life would be like now. It's just a low down feeling!

  5. Actions are the only thing that matter.

  6. Thank you all for your support. ChaiLatte - please don't worry about long comments. It is so very helpful to hear from people who are traveling this path with me.

  7. Is a short comment Okay? --grin.

    We also dealing with a similar situation. But she is a girl, and that's not pretty stuff. God is in charge. It sounds so trite, but it is so true. He can do it. Let him.


  8. I have been gone this last weekend so I am getting late.

    It is OK to get angry, anger helps especially if you focus the anger towrdas the drugs and not the person. I have said and done things in my anger I would never have said or done without being exposed to this insidious life. I have fought with my son, I hit him once, I have cursed, yelled and threw him out. None of it fixed the addiction but it made me feel better at the time than I had to just file it away and get over it.

    There is no anger like the anger of a parent in this situation. You see the drugs destroying lives. It is destroying your sons life and it is destroying your life and it destroys the lives of all that touch him. There is no way to keep from getting angry sometimes.

    My son is 21 years old. I have finally decided to stop parenting. I will be his father for all of his life, but I am no longer going to be his parent. This is my way of detaching from the horror of the drug and dealing with my son. As a father I can be a counselor, a mentor, a friend and a confidant when and if he needs me. I have stopped the "do this" and "don't do that". He is 21 and even though he has an addiction problem he must learn to live eitehr a clean life or a dirty life. Either way it is his choice.

  9. Been reading the rest of your blog and I have linked to it from mine.

    There has been a lot of good advice passed around in the comments so I won't just cover the same thing but one thing I would stress. Press charges! We did not for many years of his stealing from us, his sisters, our parents and relatives. It makes it worse the longer it goes and pressing charges was the hardest thing I did during this whole time because I knew, once in the system.....

    Here is a link to the episode that lead to our pressing charges and it was not that long ago. it took thi long to get teh courage to do what should have been done.

    And finally here is a posting I wrote after pressing charges. I knew all this but once I put it "on paper" it really began to sink in. In fact when I feel weak I actually go back and read this again and again to remind myself what I believe and how I can help.

  10. Oh Hannah. I have been there. Not with my son, but with my husband. My anger consumed me so much at one point that I didn't know who I was.

    There is such a range of emotions with it comes to dealing with addicts. It can be at times so so difficult.

    I hope that your son will get the diagnosis that he needs in August and that he will start working at it. I hope that you too are able to find some peace.

    Hang in there girl.

  11. Hi Hannah, found you through mom and dad's blog and see some of my other blog friends here - sad that we know each other from this common bond of addicted children, but good to have the support.

    I'll add you to my list of people to care about and pray for.

  12. Hannah, like everyone I can relate in every way. I'll never forget the day that we went to the pawn shop to buy back my dad's golf clubs. I'll never forget the look in my dad's eyes. You are not alone. There's only one thing bigger than addiction that I have found after extensive search. God. I will pray for you and your family.

  13. Hannah, I've had crazy moments of anger too. It evolved around my inability to fix anything with regard to the alcoholic. I have since come to realize through Al-Anon that I am powerless over others. They do what they will do. I can't stop them.